If you read my previous blog you will know that we have been waiting for over nine months for a concert to come around. I bought tickets for the hubby for Christmas to see his long time idol, Billy Joel. If you want to see the previous post, you can read it here!
Well the weekend had finally rolled around so we packed our bags and got on the train to Euston to start our day off. The journey went surprisingly well and we hit the City at around 2 o’clock. We had booked to stay in a private apartment near to Hyde Park and made our way there.
Now I had originally booked one night at the Guoman Tower Hotel, but had cancelled this when we decided to stay for a longer period of time. Going onto Booking.com I found us a lovely private apartment for two nights which cost the same as one night in the previous hotel.
On arrival I was stunned to find the most gorgeous red brick mansions, literally 30 seconds from Edgeware Road tube station. We met a lovely gentleman who showed us to our rooms. To say I was amazed was an understatement!
We had a huge light airy room on the lower floor. A massive bed, storage space for around 6 people, a large flat screen television, sofa and even a free standing fan were all in our room. Opposite our room was a private bathroom with a lovely high powered shower, tiled throughout in marble.
On the way into the City it was particularly hot and humid, although there was rain in the air. We decided to unpack, freshen up with a couple of drinks and then head into Oxford Street.
I decided to wear my Pin Up Girl Sea Siren dress with Woody Ellen handbag and my turquoise Clarks shoes. I wanted to look good but be comfortable and able to walk distances.
A couple of glasses of wine later (and maybe a vodka for me) we hopped back on the tube and went to Carnaby Street. The hubby had to pick up a t-shirt for a race he is running on Sunday and I wanted to look in a couple of shops.
Imagine my surprise when I popped into Skinnydip London and the shell bag of dreams was there on the shelf. Well, that went straight into my basket.
We walked down to pub we know quite well, The Iron Duke in Mayfair and had a drink and a bite to eat. We chose a range of their small tasting plates as it was quite early in the evening and we didn’t want to hang around too long due to the concert being imminent.
The Honey and mustard sausages, Chicken Satay skewers and Cod goujons were a winner, as were the chips. We left the pub ready to make our way to Wembley Stadium for the concert.
Of course, when we came out again the heavens had opened and we got a little damp. Thankfully I had my trusty pink parasol that doubles up as an umbrella whenever needed.
Getting the tube to Wembley was simple enough and the crowds moved rapidly with no issues. We arrived around ninety minutes before it was due to start, got a drink and settled down, relaxing and chatting before the big show.
Finally the lights went out, plunging the stadium into darkness. This was it, the concert was about to start!
Hubby was in his element sat next to me. We had a pretty good view of the stage and were undercover (unlike some) which meant we were dry and warm.
Billy Joel came out and started playing an up-beat song. I could hear my husband singing along. But what I couldn’t hear was Billy Joel’s vocals very well. The echo was resounding all over the stadium and I struggled to make out the actual lyrics.
To start off I thought that perhaps my hearing was the problem. But when the rest of the band kicked in, it was so loud that it overpowered everything else. Turning to hubby I asked if it was me, or if he was experiencing the same issue.
I am sad to report that he was struggling as much as me, but as he is the massive fan it didn’t deter from his enjoyment at all. Song after song was played. Old favourites and rare ones that I didn’t know so well.
When Billy Joel was singing, even though I knew the songs and could sing the lyrics word for word, he might as well have been singing in Swahili as I literally struggle to distinguish each word. This was a total and utter shame.
Billy was extremely witty too. He interacted with the audience and did an amazing impression of Mick Jagger, Sir Elton John and Joe Cocker. But I was still struggling. This lead me to become really disenchanted and if I am honest, a little bored. All because to me the sound quality was quite grim.
Thankfully I can say that the second half of the concert something happened. The quality improved one thousand percent. This meant that I could make out the vocals perfectly and really got into it.
Throughout the concert Billy gave several listener choices. An either/or vote which meant he played whatever song got the loudest cheer. This meant we heard “Just the way you are” (Instead of The Stranger) “Vienna (Summer Highland Falls) and “Zanzibar” (Big man on Mulberry Street)
This was great until one of the last choices when a song I had been desperate for him to play, “And so it goes” lost out to “Leningrad”. However it was sung so beautifully it brought a tear to my eye.
There were snippets of “Rule Britannia”, “The Lion sleeps tonight”, “With a little help from my friends”, and then out came his Roadie, Chainsaw. Having been with Billy for 35 years he hit the stage with a rousing rendition of “Highway to Hell”, which strangely got all the crowd singing along.
Another highlight of the show for me, was one of his band, Mike DelGuidice singing “Nessun Dorma”. The Stadium was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. If like me, you are not a fan of that song at all, his version could change your mind. It was absolutely beautiful.
The concert was finished off with the eponymous “The Piano Man”. The crowd sang along to every word, swaying in time. It was a true sight to see!
Billy Joel left the stage and the crowd erupted, begging for more. Stamping their feet and cheering for a good 5 minutes, Billy returned to the stage for a 5 song encore – “Uptown Girl”, “It’s still rock n roll to me”, “Only the good die young” and” You may be right”
He ended the night with a snippet of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock n Roll” which had everyone dancing in the aisles.
For me the concert, as they say at Wembley a lot, was a game of two halves. I was left disappointed by the sound in the first hour, but the following 90 minutes was amazing.
As for the hubby, he was in his element seeing someone he has been a fan of for 30 years. He loved every minute and we had a lively discussion on the way home about what was our favourite moment and song. We obviously disagreed on our personal choices, but that’s life!
It took us over and hour and a half to get back to the apartment, although the staff at Wembley and the tube station were amazing. It was so well organised and we were all kept informed as to what was going on.
However when you have 70,000 people, with a high percentage wanting to get on the tube there was always going to be long queues.
We got home around midnight, just in time for a nightcap and an hour of the Paralympic Games seeing several of our athletes getting gold medals. I also decided to wet set my hair ready for the next day which was going to be a special one!
A perfect end to a perfect night.